Breel Embolo celebrates in front of empty stand as Borussia Monchengladbach’s Rhineland derby win over Cologne becomes first Bundesliga match played behind closed doors due to coronavirus
Breel Embolo was the key man as Borussia Monchengladbach kept their faint title hopes alive with a 2-1 Rhineland derby win over Cologne in the first Bundesliga match to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus.
The Swiss forward opened the scoring in the first-half with a superb curling effort, before providing the cross which brought about Jorge Mere’s own goal in the second period.
Mark Uth scored a neat consolation effort for Koln with 10 minutes left but Gladbach resisted some late pressure from the visitors to gain a vital three points for their title credentials.
The match between Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne was played behind closed doors
The empty Gladbach ultra stand held up a sign ordering them to ‘get the derby win’
Breel Embolo cupped his ears in celebration towards the empty stands after scoring
The match was doused in controversy as the City of Monchengladbach ordered the match to be played behind closed doors the day before the match due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was the first time a Bundesliga match had been played with no fans present at the stadium.
Despite a lack of fans, Gladbach took a first-half lead as Embolo curled in a brilliant left-footed effort after 32 minutes, before celebrating in amusing fashion by cupping his ears towards the empty seats.
The home side could have doubled their lead just after the interval as Patrick Hermann ran through on goal but his effort was saved by Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn.
Embolo (second right) curled in the opener for Gladback after 32 minutes on Wednesday
Embolo celebrates in front of the empty stands during the Rhineland Derby on Wednesday
But the second goal eventually came with twenty minutes to play as Embolo’s searching cross was heading towards team-mate Marcus Thuram to tap into an empty net, but the outstretched leg of Mere ended up being the decisive touch as the Cologne defender netted an unfortunate own goal.
Mark Uth netted a consolation for the visitors, cutting inside on his left foot and firing home to score his fourth league goal of the season, thereby creating a nervy final few minutes for the home side.
Cologne almost grabbed a comeback point late on but Uth could only fire a close-range effort straight at Yan Sommer while Dominik Drexler fired wide in what turned out to be the penultimate kick of the game.
The result lifts Gladbach to fourth place in the German top-flight, six points behind leaders Bayern Munich, while Cologne remain in 10th place, ten points above the relegation play-off spot.
Jorge Mere (right) scored an unfortunate own goal from Embolo’s cross after 70 minutes
Embolo (middle) celebrates turning provider for what turned out to be the winning goal
Mark Uth (right) pulled a goal back for Koln with a smart run and finish with ten minutes left